When I was a kid, a quick seafood dinner meant fish sticks with tartar sauce. While I’m sure my mom had the best of intentions when pulling the frozen minced fish logs from their packets, (“eat it, it’s good for you!” she’d say) it’s no wonder I grew up thinking I hated fish. It wasn’t until I travelled to italy as an adult (if you can call an 18-year-old an adult?) and tried their simple preparations of white fish that I found out it could be so much more than those mushy breaded sticks of my youth.
One of the most popular fish on Italian menus is Branzino, a type of European sea bass with a delicate flavor and firm, flaky texture. It has become one of my favorite fish to prepare thanks to it’s versatility and light, almost sweet taste. Here it’s paired with savory artichoke hearts and a bright, lemony herb sauce. While this recipe is significantly more delicious than fish sticks, you’ll be surprised to find that it’s just as quick and easy to prepare. Served with sautéed greens or a fresh salad and some crusty bread, this makes for a beautiful main dish that you can whip up in just 10 minutes or you have a little extra time you can serve it with the roasted veggies of your choice.
This recipe is perfect for…
- Weeknight dinner
- When you’re having guests over and don’t have a lot of time to cook
- pleasing people who don’t like “fishy” fish.
- making a sustainable seafood choice. Look for branzino farmed in recirculating aquafarms from Nova Scotia or Europe for a Seafood Watch “Best Choice” rating.
- Branzino is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, protein and the antioxidant selenium.
- Farmed Branzino is a low-mercury seafood choice
- Fresh herbs are rich in protective polyphenols — plant compounds with potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial effects.
- Used since ancient times for their medicinal properties, studies have shown that herbs can help combat such diseases as cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and more.
I hope it will be one of your favorites too. Enjoy! xJacq
Pan-Seared Branzino with Artichoke Hearts and Lemon-Herb SauceIngredients: 4-6 Servings Lemon-Herb Sauce: 1/3 cup fresh Basil, lightly packed 2 Tbsp fresh Italian Parsley, chopped 2 Tbsp fresh Chives, chopped 1/4 cup Olive Oil 1/4 cup Lemon Juice, (about 1 medium lemon) 1/4 tsp Sea Salt Artichokes: 1 14 oz. can Artichoke Heart Quarters, drained and rinsed 2 Tbsp Olive Oil 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice, fresh squeezed (about 1/2 lemon) Branzino: 4-6 Branzino Fillets, boneless, skin-on (about 4oz. each) Sea Salt Black Pepper Olive Oil
Puree herbs, oil, lemon juice and salt in blender until herbs are very finely chopped and sauce is almost smooth.
Pat artichokes dry with paper towels. Finely chop with a sharp knife or food processor. Place in a small pot and toss with olive oil and lemon juice. Warm over medium-low while you cook the branzino, stirring occasionally.
Pat fillets dry with paper towels. Sprinkle on both sides with salt and pepper. Place one large or two smaller skillets on the front burners of your stovetop depending on the number of filets you are making. The fish should be able to lie flat without overlapping.
Swirl 1 tablespoon olive oil in each skillet to coat the bottom of the pan and heat over medium-high until the oil is hot and shimmering, 60-90 seconds. Add the fillets skin side down, being sure to lay the fish away from you to avoid splatters. Lightly press on each fillet with a spatula to make sure the skin has full contact with the pan as it cooks undisturbed for 3 minutes. Gently flip the fillets away from you and cook one minute more. Transfer skin side up to a platter lined with paper towels to remove any excess oil.
Spread 2 tablespoons artichokes over each fillet, skin side down. Drizzle with herb sauce and serve immediately.
Notes:Refrigerate leftovers and consume within 2-3 days. Extra herb sauce can be used as salad dressing. If you’re short on time or ingredients, jarred pesto can be used in place of the herb sauce.